I have two bushes of dogwood in our garden. There are many variants of dogwood. In the summer the species I have in our garden is a large yet unremarkable plant. It does get tiny white flowers and small white berries and the leaves are quite pretty, but there are certainly more beautiful looking plants around.
So why does Dogwood deserve a place in my garden?
For me with dogwood its all about the stems. I grow red stemmed dogwood as we love the colour red. In the late autumn when most of the leaves have fallen I cut about half of the stems. These stems are now very tall some are six feet high or more. Many are very straight, some are twisted or curved it depends how they have grown.
So these stems are cut to size and in winter I use them to decorate our home. Some of the more unusual shapes and curves go in to clear vases where the red stems and shapes really shine through.
Others I tie up into a rustic bundle and place in a natural wicker basket by the fire. They look gorgeous there. At Christmas I add colourful baubles, tinsel, put lights around them or even glitter sometimes!
Outside in the garden the remaining dogwood stems shine out a vibrant gorgeous red and look wonderful when dew forms upon them, or after a frost. They especially liven up the winter garden when snow falls white against red... beautiful.
In early spring I start to plant out climbers like sweet peas and I use the Dogwood sticks as supports. I also want to protect young plants from damage so put a few sticks around them with garden twine or string. The sticks also help to keep the neighbourhood cats from using the pots freshly planted with bulbs as a toilet! I use the same Dogwood stems that have decorated our home all winter to act as plant supports and protective sticks.
They last all year and meantime the new dogwood stems are out there growing away needing little attention from me in our garden. You do need a spot with a fair amount of room in order to let them grow large and somewhere perhaps that is not centre stage in summer but will be noticed in winter.
Dogwood, so beautiful in winter, so versatile, so very useful - I love them.